I wasn’t really drawn to the cover of this Better Homes and Gardens magazine so much. Plain little chocolate cupcakes with X’s & O’s on top. Not very exciting, I thought. There is, however, a most gorgeous Chocolate- Cherry Stack Cake within the magazine… layers of chocolate cake divided by layers of cherry frosting and topped with chocolate-covered cherries. That photograph would have made for a more beautiful, droolworthy cover.
The article title for this section of sweets is, “Sweet Comebacks- Rediscover malted milk, meringue, marschino cherries and other bake-shop favorites in these easy desserts.” BHG refers to the “cover recipe” as Chocolate Cherry Stack Cake, even though the actual cover displays cupcakes with no cherry in them at all. As the reader, your job is to figure out that they used the cake recipe but topped it with chocolate frosting. Choosing to go the festive Valentine’s Day route, I made the chocolate cupcakes with the cherry frosting and dipped cherries. Plus, I didn’t have any alphabet cookie cutters lying around so that wasn’t an appealing choice for me. Read my notes below to see what I thought of these Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes.
Chocolate- Cherry Cupcakes
Yield: 16 cupcakes
Prep Time: 40 min
Cook Time: 20 min
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
8 ounces sour cream
1 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. maraschino cherry juice
16 whole maraschino cherries, with stems
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 tsp shortening
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line sixteen 2 1/2-inch muffin cups with paper baking cups.
2. In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.
3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter on medium to high for 30 seconds. Add sugar; beat until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Beat in sour cream and flour mixture. Fill each cup with two slightly rounded Tablespoons of cake batter.
4. Bake 18 minutes or until top springs back. Cool completely on wire rack.
5. Prepare cherries (if using): Drain cherries, keeping stems attached; pat dry with paper towels. In small microwave-safe bowl combine chocolate and shortening. Cook on 50% power 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring once. Dip cherries in chocolate; place on waxed paper until set. Store, covered, up to 24 hours.
6. Prepare frosting: In a large mixing bowl combine alll frosting ingredients. Beat on medium-high until fluffy.
7. Ice cupcakes- spread onto cupcakes. Top with a chocolate covered cherry. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
*The recipe makes far too much frosting (because the recipe is actually for a full-sized cherry stack cake and not for cupcakes).
*The dipped cherries are a cute idea. I wasn't thinking about stems when I purchased my jar of maraschino cherries, and was disappointed to find that my cherries didn't have stems. I made do without them but clearly they would have been cuter with the stems attached. Of course, they'd be much better with fresh cherries.
Source: Better Homes and Gardens, February 2010
The cupcake recipe is an easy one. It turned out moist. The tops were flat, which is good for frosting. I did not like the added cinnamon in the recipe at all. Normally, chocolate and cinnamon can work quite well together, but I didn’t like the cinnamon competing with the flavor of the cherry frosting. I’d leave the cinnamon out next time. The frosting is a whipped cream/sour cream sort of creamy frosting. It’s not good for piping- just a spoonful spread on top. It was delicious.
Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?
I have mixed feelings because the cupcakes were good, but I preferred the way my cupcakes turned out instead of how they chose to prepare them and photograph them. To me, the cherry frosting just looks more festive & appropriate for Valentine’s Day. The print on the cover of the magazine says, “Made With Love,” so perhaps they liked the X’s and the O’s to go with their title. The Chocolate-Cherry Stack Cake pictured within the magazine would have been a far more enticing photograph than their chosen cupcake cover.